This boy does bounce


I was at my nephew’s 5th birthday party at the weekend.

It was an old school affair – family, few friends, bouncy castle, booze for the parents. The sort of perfect day when the sun shines and children’s giggles fill the air.

Perhaps I was soaking up the chilled garden party vibes too much and that was the reason I was caught so off guard.

My boy loves a bouncy castle and we like to throw him into the mix and then hover with a nonchalant nervousness close by. A couple of minutes in, he piqued the curiosity of one little boy I didn’t know.

How old is he?

He’s five, I replied.

I’m five too.

He looked puzzled for a bit and I was about to explain that he was little for his age, but before I could he blurted out in the cut-to-the-chase-and-take-no-prisoners way kids do.

This is a bouncy castle. He should be bouncing.
Why doesn’t he bounce?”

Sucker punch.

Because he can’t bounce.

In the space of a few seconds I looked at all the other kids – the typical five-year-old boys Gabe would be in a parallel universe and some even younger – jumping up and down with splendid abandon and flashes from the past flew through my head. The painful “will he stand; will he walk” physio conversations; the frustrated days when he would throw himself back rather than sit; the shameful envy as other babies wobbled their first steps; hospital appointments instead of playgroups and parks.

I waited for that gun-shot pain of loss and regret to hit. Mentally patting myself down to see where I was bleeding. Would it knock me down?

But there was nothing.


I felt like whizzing around the garden, arms spread wide, shouting: “I’m okay. It’s okay. It didn’t hurt.”

Boom. It was all good.

Because in those split seconds I’d looked down at my beautiful, perfectly imperfect child and watched as he sat in the middle of all the fun giggling his head off. Screaming in glee without a care in the world.

And you know what I realised.

My boy does bounce.

He bounces along with the rest.

Gabe.bounce2You don’t need to actually bounce, to bounce.

You don’t need to be up on your feet to feel that can’t-catch-my-breath-and-I-may-be-sick-from-laughing-so-hard feeling.

You don’t need strong ankles to soar on your swing through the air and try to touch the sky.

You don’t need to run to feel the wind rushing through your hair when you have a brother who will push your wheels down the hill (and give mum a slight coronary episode).

You don’t need to understand all the words to join in with the  joking and be convulsed with chortles.

You don’t need to know the rules to steal a turn at banging the dice lever down in a game of Frustration.

You don’t need to march and stamp across the lands to explore, to discover and examine life’s treasures.

Hell, you don’t even need a bouncy castle to bounce.

All that matters is that you believe you are bouncing.

If it feels like bouncing, then it is bouncing.

Life is too short to fret about what our children can or can’t do. There will always be a peer that makes them appear to fall short. No matter the multitude of achievement, there will always be something else to worry about.

It is not about how we bounce. Or whose bounces are the biggest and the best.

Just that we love to bounce.

And that we keep on bouncing in our own individual, wonderful way.






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21 Comments on This boy does bounce

  1. Suzanne Gale
    June 8, 2016 at 5:20 pm (6 years ago)

    I love this story, and all that you share with us! Many, many heartfelt Thanks!!!

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm (6 years ago)

      What a lovely comment – thank you xx

  2. Kiran
    June 9, 2016 at 8:06 am (6 years ago)

    I LOVE this. You are a wise woman Alison xx

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm (6 years ago)

      Bless you – hardly xx

  3. Suzanne
    June 9, 2016 at 3:33 pm (6 years ago)

    Heart swell moment right there. This is so beautiful and wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing an insight into your world and that of Gabe. He’s a remarkable little chap. x
    Suzanne recently posted…Loud ‘n’ Proud – 09.06.16My Profile

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm (6 years ago)

      I think he is remarkable too – thanks Suzanne xxx

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks xxxx

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:56 pm (6 years ago)

      Just bounce – we should all do this shouldn’t we xx

  4. Jo Sandelson
    June 10, 2016 at 11:43 am (6 years ago)

    Go Gabe! He’s his own man and it’s just brilliant the way he is accepted completely by his family. I’m embarrassed to say this post was an important wake-up for me. I was feeling sad that my own boy wasn’t doing all the stuff his cousins were doing this week at the cricket match. I wanted him to be different, tried to get him to join in and be part of a remarkable day. He doesn’t even have the huge physical drawbacks your son has and I’ve not been through your years of hardship. I thought if you can accept him for who he is, of course I must accept mine and want what’s right and possible for him alone and not for me. Dunno if that makes sense but thank you and Gabe for the reminder – you are a great Mum. x
    Jo Sandelson recently posted…My family and Chris GayleMy Profile

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:55 pm (6 years ago)

      Please don’t be embarrassed – I am the same with my oldest boy – I’m always trying to push him to be more sporty. It is just what we do. xx Thank you for the lovely comment Jo x

  5. Lizzie
    June 10, 2016 at 7:05 pm (6 years ago)

    So beautifully put and so very very true x

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you xx

  6. Sharon
    June 12, 2016 at 8:38 am (6 years ago)

    I loved reading your post. I so agree. We do not need our happiness to be defined by others or by what makes others happy. We are all different. We all have different bodies. We all ‘bounce’ in different ways and some are not better than others. It’s not how you bounce that matters – it’s just important that you do! I wish him lots more happy bouncing. :)

    • Alison
      June 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you – and so true that we don’t need others to define our happiness xx

  7. Caroline
    June 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm (6 years ago)

    This is lovely – we are all unique individuals, and this is a beautiful reminder of that. Just read some of your other posts and am a new fan of your blog! x

    • Alison
      June 13, 2016 at 8:24 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you – cheers to all the wonderfully different folks x

  8. Becky Cowley
    June 14, 2016 at 8:19 am (6 years ago)

    I love this post. So beautiful. He can bounce and he is bouncing and he is laughing and loving it!

  9. Steph Curtis
    September 2, 2016 at 8:10 pm (6 years ago)

    Funny how children can just get straight to the point, isn’t it? In a way, I think it’s good that they ask questions – even if we don’t know the answer, we shouldn’t be afraid to tell them that. That’s how they learn. That said, I live in fear of my autistic girl asking those ‘awkward’ questions very loudly… it’s a tough line to walk! Glad he was having a fun time. Great post xx
    Steph Curtis recently posted…Back to School with autismMy Profile

  10. Ruth F. Clarke
    April 20, 2017 at 6:29 am (5 years ago)

    What a lovely boy!
    No kids can reject the bouncy castles and it is fairly attractive for kids!
    Thanks for your sharing of this interesting story! :)


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